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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mixed, stimulus plan doesn't buoy Saudi

* Doubts over timing, impact of Saudi stimulus steps

* Saudi Electricity continues slide on news of payment to state

* Saudi banks strong after reverse repo rate rises, repo flat

* Dubai property developers drag market lower

* Kuwait outperforms after central bank keeps rates unchanged

DUBAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Middle Eastern stock markets were mixed on Thursday, with the Saudi Arabian bourse taking little encouragement from the government's announcement of a 72 billion riyal ($19 billion) stimulus package.

King Salman issued a royal decree approving measures to stimulate growth in the private sector. They include residential loans worth 21.3 billion riyals, a 10 billion riyal fund to support economic projects, and 1.5 billion riyals to support distressed companies.

But some of these steps had already been expected, and it remains unclear how quickly they can be implemented and affect the economy. The government plans to introduce a 5 percent value-added tax and domestic energy price rises next year.

The Saudi stock index fell 0.3 percent with utility Saudi Electricity, which had plunged 9.9 percent on Wednesday, sinking a further 5.1 percent.

The stock rose early this week in anticipation of the government announcing hikes in electricity tariffs. But the company said on Wednesday it would pay the government a fee equivalent to the rise in tariffs, so there should be no positive impact on its profits.

Nine of the 12 banks were firm. The Saudi central bank hiked its reverse repo rate, the rate at which commercial banks deposit money with it, in line with U.S. Federal Reserve overnight, but it kept the repo rate, used to lend money to banks, unchanged at 2.00 percent.

This may be modestly positive for Saudi banks' margins, since they have excess cash with the economy and loan growth sluggish.

National Shipping Co of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) rose 1.1 percent after proposing a 2017 cash dividend of 1.5 riyals per share, down from 2.5 riyals for 2016; some investors had expected a lower dividend after profits shrank this year.

The Dubai index dropped 1.4 percent as Emaar Properties, which had dropped 6.2 percent on Wednesday on news of a smaller-than-expected special dividend for shareholders, lost a further 3.7 percent. Fellow developer DAMAC Properties slid 3.5 percent in sympathy.

Courier firm Aramex sank 5.3 percent to iots lowest level since February.

In Abu Dhabi, ADNOC Distribution edged down 0.4 percent to 2.64 dirhams. It traded for the first time on Wednesday after an initial public offer at 2.50 dirhams per share. The Abu Dhabi index slipped 1.0 percent.

Qatar's index edged up 0.1 percent as real estate firm Ezdan Holding, the most heavily traded stock, climbed 1.8 percent after jumping 6.4 percent on Wednesday.

The company said on Wednesday that a shareholder, Abdullah Ahmed Taher, had filed suit seeking to annul the shareholders' meetings which approved its decision to go private - a move that caused the stock to plunge.

Kuwait's index outperformed the region, surging 1.5 percent after the central bank decided to keep interest rates on hold despite the U.S. hike. Unlike the other rich Gulf Arab oil exporting countries, which peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar, Kuwait manages the dinar against a dollar-dominated basket, giving it more flexibility in monetary policy.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index fell 0.3 percent to 7,076 points.

DUBAI

* The index dropped 1.4 percent to 3,355 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index sank 1.0 percent to 4,339 points.

QATAR

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 8,212 points.

EGYPT

* The index rose 0.2 percent to 14,680 points.

KUWAIT

* The index surged 1.5 percent to 6,332 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,266 points.

OMAN

* The index edged down 0.1 percent to 5,062 points.